African Golden Wolf’s Identity Crisis Comes to an End

posted: 07/31/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
Canis anthus
D. Gordon E. Robertson

The African Golden Wolf (Canis anthus) has been living a lie: after masquerading as an African golden jackal (Canis aureus) since the beginning of time, the small, dog-like creature has finally been gifted the distinction of being classified as its own species.

The two animals have very similar physical appearances, especially in their teeth and skulls. Using DNA evidence, researchers determined that, in fact, the two species have evolved independently for at least a million years -- they aren't even considered to be closely related.

"Even among well-known and widespread species such as golden jackals, there is the potential to discover hidden biodiversity," explains study lead author Klaus-Peter Koepfli, of the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute.

Koepfli adds that the discovery of C. anthus marks the first new addition to the candid family in Africa in more than 150 years.

Click here for more information about the African Golden Wolf

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